Damiana. Year 1. Tutorial 4.

The Discipline of Precision.

When people first started to gather together in large numbers all sorts of problems arose for we all differ from each other in a myriad ways. The crossroads, The market place, the hamlet, perhaps determined by topography, a water well or even the natural abundance of a certain type of food. The needs and reasons were many. It takes no great leap of understanding to grasp the need of a rule of law. This was system of measurement of human behavior, to which we must all must submit if we are to have any kind of rational civilized dealings with one another. The rule meets a human need.

Medicine also meets a human need and from that need sprang the necessity of a rational system of Medicine which is also based on measurement, an agreed method to which we must all conform. In this age of mass transit of culture and border it is essential for the individual to carry international documents of various kinds which are understood by all. One such document is a medical prescription the Rx or the recipe for a particular kind of medicine and its dose, to which we must all agree, or suffer what could be of tragic consequence.

Ratios, percentages, fractions these are the matters dealt with in Module 7 which is the anchor around which the other

modules must agree e.g. the ratios involved in the harvesting and drying and the temperatures involved and then the matters of posology or the dose which is covered in Module 11, sections 11.7 and 11.8.

At this stage, Spring in the Northern Hemisphere, the first precision must lie in the precision of identity of the plant concerned. In that respect we have been blessed by tireless botanists with love of subject who between them have produced some magnificent National flora�s. America like Europe serves as a cross roads for many plants. As a personal favorite for its general utility, clarity and scholarship I would recommend;

Manual of Cultivated Plants. By Liberty. H. Bailey and the staff of the Bailey Horotorium at Cornell University.

From the point of harvest onwards then we must continue to work with precision, the drying ratios, the weights, the extraction ratios and the integrity of the chosen menstruum. Without this precision of the technician we can make no claim of reproducibility which is an absolute essential. Without it there will be no rational system of medicine and in such matters it becomes a matter of whim. Think on this! When you attach the signature to a preparation, whether in New York or London or Tokyo, the preparation must be able to be reproduced.

(1) The Latin Binomial.

(2) The ratio of extraction.

(3) The menstruum.

(4) The date.

(5) Your signature.

There are limits to precision. The reason is that the number of variables involved are such, both known and unknown that we have an impossibility. Think on this! The orthodox school attempts to adjust what it considers to be the prime mover or active principle of the individual plant. Monographs of the Pharmacopeia�s set out the limit of this or that which is tied to a plants therapeutic index i.e. the safe dosage. There is a certain futility in that approach, which may be seen in outline here;  Foxglove Foxtrot

The only method of standardizing the dose of such potent plants is by biological means. So what are the implications of that for the healer when dealing with such plants? Firstly we must understand the problem of the idiosyncrasy of plant and to that we must also consider the idiosyncrasy of the individual (The eclectic rule. Module 11.7/3) In other words whether you be an orthodox MD or a traditional healer one must rely on Art, for the future is uncertain. We cannot just assume that we will have the necessary structures remaining to support the orthodox scientific assembly line approach.

Art I cannot teach you, because art must grow out of self. Art (Heart) is a matter of experience and compassion. You must wed that to the precision or reproducibility of your instruments. It is a narrow path strewn with many considerations and if you are of the scientific mindset then your task becomes very convoluted unless you allow the art (heart and intuition) to shine through.

Consider; Look at the cross section of a tree trunk and there you will see the rings of the seasons, count them and see which are similar to each other. See the lean years and time of struggle. See the good years and times of plenty. You too contain such signs. The whole of Nature is dancing to the rhythms but on a very different time scale to us .. in another time and another place.

In the staggering complexity of all that ... is not science unmasked? But also consider the fisherman in his rowboat bobbing and rocking on the tide. The fisherman, boat and tide are one ... all dancing as one to the same music of the spheres. So it is with mankind and the healing plants. Nature takes care of the variables, remember the words of Hippocrates given in Module 12.

Always bear this in mind when studying older works.

"But the really important point is, not what they regarded as
fact, but how ? And in what spirit they interpret their facts ? "
Dr Rudolph Steiner.

Ivor Hughes
Auckland New Zealand 2005

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